Eat, Pray, Love meets The Rosie Project in this fresh, heartwarming memoir by a man who travels to Verona and volunteers to answer letters addressed to Shakespeare’s Juliet, all in an attempt to heal his own heartbreak.
When Glenn Dixon is spurned by love, he packs his bags for Verona, Italy. Once there, he volunteers to answer the thousands of letters that arrive addressed to Juliet—letters sent from lovelorn people all over the world to Juliet’s hometown; people who long to understand the mysteries of the human heart.
Glenn’s journey takes him deep into the charming community of Verona, where he becomes involved in unraveling the truth behind Romeo and Juliet. Did these star-crossed lovers actually exist? Why have they remained at the forefront of hearts and minds for centuries? And what can they teach us about love?
When Glenn returns home to Canada and resumes his duties as an English teacher, he undertakes a lively reading of Romeo and Juliet with his students, engaging them in passions past and present. But in an intriguing reversal of fate and fortune, his students—along with an old friend—instruct the teacher on the true meaning of love, loss, and moving on.
An enthralling tale of modern-day love steeped in the romantic traditions of eras past, this is a memoir that will warm your heart.
Dixon's tiresome and repetitious tale of the quest for solace and love can be summed up quickly in a few words: man falls in love, woman doesn't return love, heartbroken man goes to Verona searching for solace. When Claire spurns Dixon's love, he sets off for Verona the setting of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to help members of the Club di Giulietta answer the thousands of letters to Juliet from the lovelorn that arrive annually. All he brings with him are a broken heart, a smattering of Italian, and a lifetime of teaching Romeo and Juliet. After a few months in Verona, he returns to Canada, and, encouraged by the letters he's reading, he writes his own letter to Juliet, and "Juliet" advises him that love arising from a long friendship is the most genuine kind. His hopes that this advice will bear fruit for him and Claire are soon dashed when she gets pregnant and marries someone else. Dejected, Dixon returns to Verona to answer more letters, though not before renewing his friendship with Desiree, who soon joins him in Verona, where the star-crossed lovers soon kiss on Juliet's balcony. In the end, this light narrative feels artificially filled out.
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A wonderful read, far less self-healing than it is uplifting and reaffirming,
A tale of multiple inputs, Dixon takes us through his reasoning to go to Verona, the city itself and the legend of Juliet so embraced by thousands of tourists and locals alike, all mixed with scenes from his classroom as he works with students as they study and discuss the work of Shakespeare. Wonderfully written and feeling much like letters home from a friend, the story moves smoothly incorporating the pieces to produce a whole.
From the explorations that Dixon did while in Verona to see if perhaps, Romeo and Juliet did exist, through his own growth as he shares the troubles of those who have written to Juliet, the author allows us an entrée into a very personal story: the one of his own growth and healing. There is plenty of time dedicated to the thought of love: where and how to find it, how to recognize it as true, how to recover from the loss, and even some science mixed in to explain the dopamine effect. The one common bond that all humans share is that desire for love and the acceptance and comfort that come from it.
Dixon brings Verona to life for the reader, and most importantly, he brings that same descriptive voice to evoke the scenes and feelings of play to his students: moments that were enriched and enhanced with his time there. Throughout his journey, we learn of his own heartbreak, healing and eventual love as the magic of the city and his explorations and openness have brought.
Each section of the book brings a new perspective or moment that is discussed and absorbed, with language that is accessible and insights into the play that bring readers new insight into the play. While Dixon’s story and perspective are revealing, he doesn’t overburden readers with complexity, this is a story that gradually reveals its depth, and is better for it. A wonderful balance in which the unseen seekers of advice become integral to the story’s progression and the author’s growth, allowing readers a front row seat to the changes and experiences. A wonderful read, far less self-healing than it is uplifting and reaffirming, perfect for readers who want a new perspective on love.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.